No grains? No problem. Paleo eaters may shun grains, processed vegetable oils, and refined sugars, but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying plenty of delicious dishes — and creating some downright ingenious recipe substitutions. Whether you’re a longtime primal eating fanatic or just curious about what it’s like to go back to dietary basics, we’ve got 51 delicious Paleo-approved snacks for whenever hunger strikes.
1. Cauliflower Popcorn
Corn is a Paleo no-no, so replace the movie favorite with a more nutritious cauliflower version that has a similar buttery taste and satisfying crunch.
2. Bacon and Guacamole Sandwiches
We’re kicking ourselves for not thinking of this one sooner. Michelle Tam, founder of Nom Nom Paleo, has some sage advice here: Slap a tablespoon (or two) of guacamole between strips of crispy bacon for a mini-sandwich combo every Paleo enthusiast can love.
3. Deconstructed Guacamole
For a filling, colorful salad, combine cubed avocado and diced tomato with lemon juice and your favorite seasonings. Best if the avocados aren’t too ripe so they’ll keep some shape.
4. Paleo Hummus and Veggie Slices
Going Paleo means saying goodbye to traditional hummus. This recipe swaps cauliflower for chickpeas for a substitute that will fool all but the most astute hummus connoisseurs. Serve with slices of your favorite dip-able vegetables.
5. Baba Ghanoush and Sesame Crackers
Eggplants are Paleo-friendly for most, but store-bought baba ghanoush can still contain loads of hidden mayo — and that can mean a lot of unwanted vegetable oils. Go for a simple, mayo-free recipe with lots of garlic for a fresher take that won’t weigh you down. Try pairing this dip with some Paleo-friendly homemade sesame crackers.
6.Prosciutto Wrapped Melon
A sweeter combo than the one above, this easy recipe requires zero cooking. Pick a favorite in-season melon (cantaloupe and honeydew work well) and wrap with preservative-free prosciutto for a juicy snack with a salty kick that’s tops for finger food.
7. Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Roast asparagus, then wrap in a preservative-free prosciutto for a snack that will also impress as an appetizer. Serve with egg yolks as an optional dipping sauce (go for the pasteurized variety if raw egg isn’t your thing).
8. Shrimp Cocktail
Start simple with the original cocktail. Serve this protein-rich snack with sugar-free cocktail sauce for an added kick.
9. Bacon-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a much-maligned green, but we’ve learned to love this superfood in almost every form. Roast with diced bacon — and some extra bacon grease — and there’s even more to celebrate.
10. Chicken-and-Egg-Stuffed Tomatoes
Combine cooked diced chicken and hardboiled egg with a simple vinaigrette and then stuff into hollowed-out beefsteak tomatoes. Garnish with paprika for flavor and color.
11. Guacamole Deviled Eggs
Mash hardboiled egg yolks with avocado with a dash of lemon juice, then stuff into egg whites for a greener take on deviled eggs. Bet you can’t eat just one! (We couldn’t eat just four.)
12. Egg Muffins
Miss muffins on Paleo? Try this version — basically mini omelettes baked in a muffin tin — for an infinitely customizable snack. Fill with your favorite veggies and meats, top with cheese (or go without), and enjoy for breakfast or whenever a snack craving hits.
13. Avocado with Sunflower Seeds
Halve and pit a ripe avocado and fill the center cavity with roasted sunflower seeds for a quick treat with contrasting textures.
14. Green Eggs
We’ll pass on the green ham for now, but this recipe gets the thumbs up. Blend eggs with a few leaves of superfood kale — keep the leave on the stalks! — and scramble for a nutrient- and fiber-packed twist on the classic omelet.
15. Homemade Trail Mix
Let’s face it: A lot of the best-tasting trail mixes aren’t the best for Paleo peeps, since sugar-coated dried fruit, milk chocolate morsels, and peanuts often take center stage. Make your own version at home by opting for nuts like almonds and macadamias, and no-sugar-added dried fruit for a touch of sweetness.
16. Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Try this sweet and savory combo for a snack that’s great served hot and cold. Experiment with different thicknesses and varieties of bacon for a twist on flavor.
17. Egg-Stuffed Pepper
Hollow out a bell pepper and fill with two or three cracked whole eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake or microwave until the eggs are cooked through. Add in some diced bacon or other meat for even more protein.
18. Roasted Sweet Potatoes
We’ve got tons of awesome sweet potato recipes, but this is the first entry on anyone’s list. Sprinkle sweet potato wedges, slices, or chunks with olive oil and rosemary, then roast at about 400 degrees until tender. (Also check out this great idea for crunchy sweet potato chips — in a microwave!).
19. Almond "Cheese" with Apple Slices
For Paleo eaters who avoid dairy, this recipe uses an ingredient that's probably already in the cupboard. Soak and peel almonds, then toss in a food processor until they’re a nutty goop. Strain in cheesecloth and refrigerate for a ricotta-like texture. Pair with apples for a filling, balanced snack!
20. Almond-Parmesan Zucchini Crisps
Course, homemade almond flour and grated Parmesan give these crisps restaurant-style breading — without the bread. Swap in shredded coconut for the cheese if dairy’s not part of your diet.
21. Paleo Pizza Bites
No crust? No problem. These bite-sized snacks use preservative-free pepperoni or thin-cut sausage as their base. Top with tomato sauce, olives, and oregano for the full pizza experience.
22. Chili-Lime Chicken Wings
There are endless ways to serve chicken, but this recipe gets a special nod for proving wings don’t need to be breaded and deep fried to taste great.
23. Basil-Artichoke Turkey Meatballs
Paleo enthusiasts have revamped the art of making meatballs, and this recipe goes above and beyond by cramming in extra veggies. The texture of the artichokes is the perfect addition to make this a well-rounded snack instead of just a spaghetti topper.
24. Coconut Chicken Nuggets
Say goodbye to fried mystery meat. These coconut-crusted nuggets also come with a recipe for Paleo barbecue sauce for a condiment we won’t have to write off as a cheat meal.
25. Crispy Prosciutto Chips
Bake preservative-free prosciutto for a thin, crunchy, mouth-watering snack — though we recommend a thicker cut if dipping is involved, since these come out pretty fragile.
26. Bacon Wrapped Eggs
The brilliance of this recipe is its innovative use of a muffin tray. Line the tray’s holes with bacon, then crack an egg into each one and bake for a three-bite breakfast (or second breakfast, we won’t judge).
27. Beef Jerky
Jerky lovers were eating Paleo before it was cool (well, before it was cool again). Dried or smoked meat is the modern caveman’s ultimate snack. We like this recipe because it’s based off a flavor combo — Teriyaki and beef — we’ve all come to know and love.
28. Ground Beef Jerky
This is a great recipe that doesn’t require the use of a dehydrator — or even a prime cut of beef. Spread a hunk of seasoned ground beef into a thin layer on a baking sheet, and bake on a low setting (about 155 degrees) for 8-12 hours. When it’s all cooked, break into chunks the size of your choosing.
29. Gluten-Free Fish Sticks
Almond flour takes the place of normal breading in this upgraded version of the grade-school staple. The combo of grapeseed and olive oils makes for a great crunch in the finished product while reducing the risk of burning the fish.
30. Paleo Scotch Eggs
This bar-food favorite is easy to adapt for a Paleo lifestyle. Wrap a hardboiled egg in minced beef and garlic, and bake for 30 minutes or until the beef is done.
31. Pork and Apple Skewers
Here’s a kebab combo that’s great to prep ahead of time (and trust us, they keep well enough in the fridge for a next-day snack). Pork chops and applesauce are a tried and true pairing, but this recipe slides chunks of apple, pork, and red onion onto the same stick for a more portable feast.
32. Kale Chips
Hand-tear kale into bite-sized pieces, coat in olive or coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake until the edges are crunchy and brown: It’s the recipe that brought kale back into foodies’ good graces!
33. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
While this recipe is probably easiest around Halloween, roasted pumpkin seeds keep great in bags for a truly mobile snack. Sprinkle with cumin or curry powder for a slightly spicier version.
34. Paleo Herb Crackers
For a gluten-free cracker packed with flavor and crunch, combine almond flour, water, oil, and some favorite herbs. Spread the dough on cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown, but not brittle.
36. Crispy Mushroom Chips
King oyster mushrooms are recommended for this simple recipe, though we’re definitely up for experimenting with different varieties. Use melted ghee (clarified butter) as a coating for the perfect color and texture.
37. Three-Ingredient Energy Bars
Energy bars are great on the go, but sometimes their complex ingredient lists don’t make for the cleanest eating. Make some Paleo bars on the cheap by blending dried fruit (like raisins), nuts, and pitted dates. Next, spread onto a baking sheet and chill. Cut the bars into the preferred size and store in the fridge until packing that next lunch.
38. Spiced Macadamia Nuts
These spiced nuts are, well, actually spicy. Cayenne and allspice give otherwise-neutral macadamia nuts a surprising kick. Enjoy, but not without some water nearby.
39. Blueberry-Apple Pie Trail Mix Balls
This recipe calls for store-bought PaleoKrunch Apple Cereal for added texture and apple flavor, but slivered almonds and dehydrated apple chunks would work, too. Combine all ingredients, form into balls, and chill for a no-bake snack great for both hikes and morning commutes.
40. Easy Strawberry Ice Cream
It’s not quite as easy as the one-ingredient banana ice cream, but it’s definitely as tasty. This recipe calls for coconut milk to give the finished product a smooth texture.
41. Almond Butter Ants on a Log
It’s an elementary school tradition: celery stalks, nut butter, and raisins to top it all off. Swap in almond butter to keep it Paleo (remember, peanuts are legumes — a Paleo no-no!).
42. Grilled Peaches
Halve fresh peaches and coat the cut sides in ghee or coconut oil, then grill on medium-high heat for around four minutes per side. They’re sweet enough as-is, but serving with some natural honey can boost the flavor even more.
43. Paleo Fudgesicles
To be fair, this take on the ice cream truck classic requires some added stevia for the right amount of sweetness. But we applaud the creator for coming up with a Paleo workaround for the fudgy chocolate texture. (It’s avocado-based, obviously.)
44. Banana Ice Cream
Bananas aren’t always the Paleo eater’s best friend, especially for those dialing back the carbs. But if you’re splurging or already incorporate America’s most popular fruit into the normal routine, this one-ingredient ice cream is an obvious addition.
45. Homemade Fruit Leather
Avoid added sugars and preservatives and create your own flavor combos with some homemade fruit leather. Use seasonal fruit for a treat that keeps well even when the produce is off the shelf.
46. Nut Butter-Stuffed Apples
Core fresh apples and fill with your favorite nut butter, then bake for a dense, flavorful dessert. Note: Almond butter works well when cooking!
47. Coconut Butter-Stuffed Dates
In case wrapping dates in bacon wasn’t enough, this recipe forgoes the savory in place of sweet coconut butter as a filling. Think of them as mini Paleo cannolis.
48. Almond Butter-Apricot Bites
Another take on the no-bake energy bar model, this recipe adds apricot and coconut for extra sweetness.
49. Chocolate-Covered Bacon
This snack is simple, elegant, and irresistible. Use dark, soy-free chocolate to complement the bacon’s natural smoky flavor (and to keep things Paleo-friendly, of course).
50. Baked Paleo Custard
Treat yourself with this decadent, gluten- and dairy-free vanilla custard. Garnish with nutmeg if you’re feeling fancy.
51. Decadent Fruit Dip
Store-bought caramel dips are summer picnic staples, but they’re not always the best for our waistlines. This lighter recipe lets cooks make both vanilla and chocolate versions in one batch. Now that’s innovation.
What are your favorite Paleo eats? Let us know in the comments below and tweet the author @d_tao.